Jerry Lee awarded diploma

Published 12:07am Friday, October 11, 2013

VIDALIA — He’s 78 years old, but Thursday night the Killer went from High School Confidential to honorary high school graduate.

The Concordia Parish School Board voted to grant an honorary Ferriday High School diploma to the town’s famed son, rock-and-roll legend Jerry Lee Lewis, and at the end of the meeting, Superintendent of Schools Paul Nelson and board President Gary Parnham signed the papers making it official.

A group of area residents had approached the school board about granting the diploma, Nelson said.

“My understanding is (Lewis) and his wife had been talking this over, and it was something he wanted,” Nelson said. “It’s a positive for us, and it’s certainly a positive for him, and we wish him the best.”

Lewis was famously expelled from a bible school in Texas for playing a boogie-woogie version of a hymn.

School board member Warren Enterkin said he was enrolled in the Ferriday school system at the same time as Lewis.

“You know, back in the 40s and 50s, students had to leave school for various reasons because it was harder then, but we all knew Jerry Lee as a student,” Enterkin said.

“As a youngster, I had an opportunity to hear him play at the Church of God in Ferriday. He played there several times, and much to my parents’ dismay, we would slip out of the Baptist church and go hear him play.”

Before the school board could grant the honorary diploma, the members first had to adopt a policy to allow it.

The diploma reads, “This certificate is awarded to Jerry Lee Lewis for having made a significant contribution to the music industry through his life’s work. The awarding of this diploma is based on his exemplary service to the community and in recognition of his bringing worldwide fame to the Town of Ferriday and Concordia Parish.”

Also during the meeting the board voted to give certified staff a $525 stipend and non-certified employees a $250 stipend.

The stipends will be paid in April.